Mobile and the Mainframe - More than just ‘More workload’
Matt Whitbourne 120000QKN6 Visits (7960)
Over the last few weeks I've had the pleasure of talking to many clients at IBM events, User Groups and 1-1 meetings about a range of topics affecting System z and the one that has provoked some of the most interesting debate has been the impact of Mobile. Nobody would dispute the fact that the increased use of mobile technology is having an impact on the Systems of Record that are critical to so many enterprises, but after talking to numerous clients over the last few weeks the question has come up over and over again: "Is this new work, different work or just work transferred between devices?" Well to give a somewhat typical IBM answer... It depends.
The Mobile Impact
One of the biggest differentiators as to the impact of mobile is going to be the industry that you serve. Retail for example is seeing a big transformation in the way that customers use mobiles devices to browse products, check prices and make purchases on the go. In this case there is a combination of both new work and different patterns of work going on. Customers are not only making purchases on the go, but are purchasing more frequently, and undertaking more browsing related activities. The last point is particularly interesting because today conversion rates are still relatively low compared to desktop devices, but when you look at the total traffic it represents a significant share. This year IBM is predicting that for the first time almost 50% of Thanksgiving holiday transactions will originate from mobile devices and represent almost a quarter of all online sales. (htt
That’s fine for retail, but what about other industry verticals?
These trends are not unique to retail. Banking in particular has also observed a significant increase in mobile originating traffic, but again it’s not just the volume that is interesting, it’s the patterns of the workload. Mobile banking has seen significant increases in transactions, but interestingly the amount of mobile originating transactions being queries or read-only is typically 50% higher than their traditional traffic. Bad
news right, queries equal cost but not revenue? Well, not necessarily. As much as you might think that all those balance checks are not having a measurable positive effect on your business, a recent study by Fiserv in their Next Generation Mobile Banking report (htt
The same can be said for the likes of Stock Trading. Many would rightly argue that mobile transactions at market open and market close is a good example of transfer of workload, the logic being that those investors operating in that way will be the same people doing the same task, but with flexibility now over device. However interactions mid-day are changing because of mobile. As Velia Carboni, SVP for Fidelity’s mobile apps says “We are seeing trading activity that is consistent throughout the day.” However noting the impact of key market events; “if you see a big shift in the market, we see a big spike in trading on the phone”. Although these sudden spikes might sound somewhat scary, this is a good example of why its important to look into where your transaction peaks are today and model the potential impact. This is because unpredictable peaks may still fall short of market open/close times so much of the impact might be easily mitigated because your System of Record already has the capacity to deal with this level of volume. Market Watch, the source of these quotes, has in particular a great article breaking down different trading scenarios relevant to mobile and goes on to highlight the varying patterns of work which is certainly worth a read. (htt
What does this mean for your mainframe System of Record?
Well the good news, is that when it comes to high volume transaction processing there really is no better platform than IBM System z. One example of this come from Sicoob (htt
Furthermore, to support this growth in mobile workload, IBM also announced earlier this year new Mobile Pricing incentives to help mitigate the impact of mobile workloads on license charges for core sub-systems such as CICS, IMS and DB2, strengthening System z’s position as the most cost competitive platform in the industry. htt
Whether it’s more workload, different workload or transferred workload, IBM System z is the right platform to ensure your business can meet these challenges. Client though should look into the exact impact of mobile workload today, and start preparing for how this might change in the future. Through IBMs offerings in our Service Management portfolio for System z we have the ability to Monitor, Model, Automate and Report changes to your mainframe environment to help both gain that insight and make dynamic optimization to maximize availability and performance as your mobile workload grows. If you’d like more information about IBM’s Service Management solutions you can visit the website (htt
About the Author
Matt Whitbourne is Program Director - Product Portfolio & Strategy for System z in IBM’s Cloud & Smarter Infrastructure team. You can follow Matt on twitter via @inventorMatt or also connect through linkedin